The District Chief Executive said I am very delighted to be in the midst of our hardworking Farmers this morning as we celebrate the National Farmers’ Day today Friday 2nd December 2022 at Mafi Wute in the Central Tongu District. Today marks the 38th edition of the National celebration and this year’s celebration is currently taking place at Koforidua in the Eastern Region His Excellency the President, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo is there to grace this great occasion

Togbui Chairman, simultaneously, we are here celebrating our gallant and hardworking Farmers and Fisher folks whose daily toil puts food on our tables for our survival. Farmers and Fisher folks play a very important role in the development of every nation and for that matter they deserve our appreciation. Togbui Chairman, it will interest you to note that United Nations Sustainable Development Goal two (2) requires that all nations should seek sustainable solutions to end hunger in all forms by the year 2030. Additionally, nations are to achieve food security and improved nutrition. It is vivid to all of us that without the efforts of these noble farmers it will be impossible to achieve this goal. Setting aside a beautiful day like this to celebrate these farmers in our locality is therefore praiseworthy.

Torgbui Chairman, Government is concerned about the number of interconnected activities which farmers implement to transform raw materials such as cassava into gari and rice into macaroni. It is worthy to note that these series of activities begin from Production through processing, packaging, sales to Consumption by means of full exploitation of an entire continuum of activities of the farming venture. This has been the shift in Government policy from subsistence farming approach to a more developed market-oriented farming method through Modernization of Agriculture in Ghana. This transformational agenda is meant to facilitate value addition at all stages along the value chain. Togbui Chairman, I therefore find this year’s Farmers’ Day Theme: “Accelerating Agricultural Development Through Value Addition” to be appropriate. In fact, Agriculture has for many years been operated with a subsistence mindset which discouraged the youths from showing interest in farming. The Government of President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo is doing all things possible to transform agriculture from the usual survival farming tactics to an agribusiness approach in Ghana. The current value addition concept in agriculture has the potential of leading us into effective post-harvest management, job creation, foreign exchange and additional revenue generation. According to Ministry of Food and Agriculture, fish production stood at 628,617 tonnes in 2021, which amounted to GH¢11.04 billion and contributed about 1.04 per cent to GDP. I am sure if value had been added, the revenue would have been more.

Togbui Chairman, the “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) programme that was started in 2017 aimed at transforming Ghana’s Agriculture to increase food production, enhance food security and employment opportunities. Considering the ebb and flow in every business venture, a study was conducted to assess the potentials, challenges, and the way forward of the PFJ. The study was done in Northern, Volta, Bono and Ahafo Regions taking the value chains of maize, rice and soyabeans into consideration. The results of the study indicated that most people perceived the PFJ to have a great potential of reducing unemployment, poverty and food insecurity. The key implementation challenges identified include inadequate and untimely supply of inputs and, insufficient education on the PFJ programme. The study therefore recommended awareness campaign in local languages to spell out details of the programme, timely supply of inputs and strengthening of the marketing component of the programme. It was also recommended that private agro-input dealers should take full charge of the distribution and sale of the inputs. It added that farmers should pay the full price for the subsidized inputs. It is therefore in the interest of everyone to encourage Government to ensure implementation of policies and programmes that consolidate the gains made under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to ensure food security in Ghana. Togbui Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, over the period, Government ensured an increase in fertilizer supply through enhanced public-private partnership and deployment of more Agriculture Extension Officers to support farmers. Dissemination of modern agriculture technologies and improved seeds were also encouraged. The focus of the Government therefore is to have a paradigm shift from farming as a way of life to farming as a business through value addition. Such inclination would serve as a major catalyst to speed up the economic growth of the country. The President introduced other programmes in the Agriculture Sector namely: Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) and, the President’s Special Rice Initiative (PSRI). All these Programmes are aimed at improving food outputs and farm income.

Togbui Chairman, Within this year 2022, the Department of Agriculture carried out the following activities to encourage agribusiness approach in the Central Tongu District. Prominent among them were the distribution of one thousand (1,000) mango seedlings and one thousand five hundred (1,500) coconut seedlings to farmers under the Government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme. In the case of Planting for Food and Jobs programme, the Department distributed Three Hundred (300) of the 50kg size bags of Sulphate of Ammonia and, Seven Hundred (700) of 50kg size bags of NPK subsidized fertilizers to farmers. Additionally, the Department conducted home and farm visits and educated farmers on good Agricultural practices, home management and improved nutrition for women in the District. The Agriculture Department also facilitated the acquisition of gari processing machinery by a Farmer-Based Organization at Ametefekope in order to add value to cassava production in the District. Togbui Chairman, we do know that Agriculture can never be left out in our developmental agenda as a nation because the gains made by the Agricculture sector on yearly basis to our GDP continues to remain significant. Again, the employment opportunities that exist in this sector cannot be overemphasized. It is therefore anticipated value addition to our farm produce will enable us to tell the best success story in the future. This has been the intention of President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Government. Togbui Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen; my address would be incomplete without saying a word or two on HIV – AIDS. 1st December of each year commemorates the World AIDS Day. It is an important day on the global calendar set aside to create awareness about the sickness, its control measures and prevention. HIV/AIDS is a sickness that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or status. According to statistics from the District Health Directorate, this sickness is still prevalent in the Central Tongu District despite the numerous awareness created over the years. We cannot continue to be negligent about the HIV disease. I wish to entreat each one of us gathered here today to get tested to know your status and seek for an early treatment if need be. This is the only way we can, as a nation eliminate AIDS by the year 2030 as stipulated by the UNAIDS. I have been tested and I know my status. Be tested to know your status. I entreat us all once again to do away with stigmatization of people living with HIV. It is a condition that can affect anyone.

Togbui Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to use this opportunity to appeal to investors and all partners to continue to work closely with the Assembly to ensure that the potentials in the agricultural sector are fully maximized for the benefit of the people in this District. We will continue to work hard to ensure agriculture regains its pride in the District, and our farmers and fisher folks are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Togbui Chairman, may I thank and congratulate all farmers of Central Tongu District for their great response to Government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme. This has enabled our District to experience an increase in yearly harvest and exported food to our neighbours. I wish to appeal again to our gallant farmers and fisher folks to give greater support to Government policies on Agriculture as they unfold. Togbui Chairman, it is often said that “if you can read, thank a teacher”. Should we not then have the farmer and fisher folk’s version – “if you have eaten today, thank a farmer and a fisherman”. May God bless our famers and fisher folks, May God bless our homeland Ghana, May God bless and make us all great and strong. at dams serve in irrigation is one of its most important advantages. Dams have made it much easier for farmers to deal with the issue of watering crops, which has increased crop productivity.

In his closing remarks the District Chief Executive thanked the community Leaders,the Assembly Members present and the entire attendees for their co-operation in the success of the programme.

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